While chatting to dad recently, it came up in conversation that he thought that my identity was somehow wrapped up in going epic adventures overseas.
Although I think he is right to some degree, as I often get asked where my next holiday is, he comments reminded me of the complex nature of identity politics and what leads people to do what they do.
This got me thinking on why I have this inherent need for travel but I can comfortably assure people that I don’t do it because it is preserved as cool or for the kudos. I do it because it is ingrained in deep within my soul.
Coming from an “Anglo-Swiss” heritage with a bit of Dutch, Scandinavian and Indonesian (way back) thrown in and born in Australia, I had a global outlook pretty early on. Ever since I was little, I’ve been interested in what was happening in the wider world (I’ve got dad to thank for that) right from politics, food, books and to how people lived differently to me.
Moving to the world’s most isolated and boring city of Perth aged 14 (also, got Dad to thank for that) did nothing but inspire me in wanting to leave as soon as possible. Right from the get go I wanted to leave this dullsville town and be part of something bigger.
These experiences stayed with me for the rest of my life. International Relations (among things) was a major theme throughout university studies and I continued to travelled as much as possible. Backpacking around Europe, development projects in Thailand and Romania, internships in Malaysia and China as well as a journalism project in India, study programmes at the UN were all highlights of a life spent travelling.
There is so much about travelling that I love. It makes me feel so alive, it has opened my eyes and taught me so many things about the world and myself. I can’t help but see travelling as a positive experience.
But more recently when I have been in more of a financial position to go travelling is when that it has become more of my identity.
Of course you need money to travel so having a permanent job with paid holidays is a fundamental requirement but, more importantly, it is the job’s inherent mundane and repetitive nature of the position that inspires me to make sure that the time I spend away from work is full of things that I love and make me happy.
After all, everyone needs something to look forward to in order to survive the mundane.
But wouldn’t you agree that you are more than the job that you do or even defined by the more negative challenges that you face in your life?
While I do a mind numbing job that is soul destroying at best and I refuse to be drawn by it as much as I refuse to de defined by my physical disability; there is just more to life.
But there is more to my life than my job-to-pay-the-rent and my well used passport. I’m an avid reader, political hack, a choir girl and, not to mention, a home owner. I guess it is just that travelling is the most extreme thing that I do.